I first heard about 75 Hard through a random conversation in December with my friend Jason. A friend of his was working through the program and posting progress pictures to Instagram. Jay mentioned that he was not interested in seeing those types of photos in his feed and we had a good laugh over the entire thing. On my way home that night I decided that I wanted to investigate 75 Hard for myself to see what it was all about.
I spent some time that evening reading the information available via 75hard.com and down the rabbit hole I went. The next day I was subscribed to the Real AF Podcast, listened to a few episodes, and then went right to the 75 Hard Episode.
I was sold. I purchased the 75 Hard Book and read it between Christmas and New Year’s while on vacation in Florida. I wasted 2020 and needed something to kickstart 2021 for me. I decided that starting January 1st I would commit to the program.
What is 75 Hard?
The challenge consists of the following tasks, which must be completed every day without exception:
- Two 45-minute Workouts (you define what the workouts are)
- Drink One Gallon of Water
- Read 10 Pages of a Personal Development, Business or Self Help Book
- Stick to a Diet (you define the diet)
- No Alcohol or Cheat Meals
- Take a Progress Picture
There are also some rules:
- You must complete all 75 days in a row; if you miss a single day you fail. Failure is any deviation from your plan, in the strictest sense. No substitutions, no excuses.
- If you fail, you must start over on day one.
- One of the daily workouts must be outside, no matter the weather.
- Audiobooks do not count toward the reading goal.
- The day ends when you go to bed.
More details about 75 Hard can be found at 75hard.com, episode #290 of the MFCEO Podcast, and episode #14 of the Real AF Podcast (I recommend the podcast, but only if foul language and intense people don’t bother you.)
Completing the 75 Hard Challenge
Completing 75 Hard totally sucked and was freaking awesome. It was by far one of the best things I have accomplished in the past few years.
I’ve done the New Year’s Resolution thing so many times at this point that I completely agree with most people that it is simply a waste of time. In the past I would always just wing it which would usually lead to me hitting the gym three or four times a week for the first two months of the year and then gradually dropping off to nothing. What was the difference this time? I had an actual plan with simple tasks that I needed to complete each day.
In the end it was the strict plan that kept me on track.
Big Wins in My 75 Hard Challenge
- Having a plan and sticking to it has proved what works for me and what doesn’t.
- I exercised while sick, while tired, while injured, during terrible weather, in the freezing cold and while traveling. This showed me that there’s always time to exercise when it is prioritized.
- Most of my family, friends and coworkers originally thought I was nuts, but after seeing my results firsthand became incredibly supportive. 75 Hard is a great topic to talk about with others.
- I have before and after photos of myself that prove the work I put in was worth it.
- Number of days in the challenge: 75
- Gallons of water drank: 75+
- Number of nights I woke up to pee: ALL
- Number of workouts completed: 150
- Number of times I said “I don’t feel like working out”: 150
- Number of times I was glad I worked out: 150
- Length of each workout: 45+ minutes
- Total workout time: 154.5+ hours
- Total pounds lost: 20 (weight loss was my primary focus)
- Total books read: About 6
- Active calories burned:
- January: 22,126+
- February: 20,932+
- March: 13,429+
- Total: 56,487+
- Daily average walking distance:
- January: 3.66 mi+
- February: 3.63 mi+
- March: 3.90 mi+
- Number of workouts completed in the snow: 5
- Number of workouts completed in the rain: 1
- The plan is clear and straight forward to complete.
- There’s a great community of people online participating in the challenge.
- Your day ends when you go to bed. You can always complete the daily tasks even if that means going to bed late.
- Progress pictures show major changes between day one and day 75.
- Primarily, 75 Hard is not designed to be a fitness challenge; it’s designed to challenge your mental toughness. Improved physical fitness is a side effect of pushing yourself every day.
- It’s long and difficult to complete! There will be days when “life happens” and you’ll want to sabotage it. Don’t do it.
- It would be easy to go straight downhill after completing the plan (tip: have a re-entry plan if you plan to take a break between phases).
- Unless you are really regimented with your schedule you may find yourself completing tasks late at night. I’m an early riser (5AM) and early to bed guy (10PM) so this wasn’t a problem for me, but I can see where this would be an issue for some.
Why I Recommend 75 Hard
75 Hard is designed to be hard. If it was not, then why call it a challenge at all.
After completing the challenge, I believe that you can start and finish. Why? Because the challenge is designed to meet you where you are at. You don’t need to be in peak physical shape to get started. You get to define the diet and exercise options that work for you based on where you are at. You can’t bench 300 lbs., no problem. Set your tasks so they are challenging, not impossible. The harder you make it, the more you’ll get out of it.
You choose which books you will read. I’m a reader and really enjoyed this part. I typically read 20-30 pages per day. I realize that reading is not everyone’s thing, but I guarantee that you will get something out of this task if you pick some quality books that interest you.
The challenge forces you to plan your time to a level that many will not be comfortable with. It taught me that I wasted a lot of time each day on trivial and mindless things. You will have to make decisions to complete each day’s tasks and decide what is profoundly important.
You either complete the day’s tasks, or you don’t. There is no middle ground. If you don’t complete them, you fail. You can still complete the program if you fail by restarting on day one, and you’d get more out of it this way. Just don’t continue to fail or you may decide to quit all together.
The 75-day length of the challenge feels perfect. It’s longer than a 30-day challenge helping you establish new habits and ideas. It’s also shorter than a 90-day challenge, which feels too long for something this intense. It hits the sweet spot of “just over 2 months” which feels and is achievable.
Finally, the daily tasks are varied, and contribute to your physical health, mental wellbeing, learning, vitality, vulnerability, and strength against addictions and vices (for those who need it.)
75 Hard was an incredible experience and I’m thankful I did it. When I first started, I had my doubts that I would be able to complete the challenge (especially when I injured my right leg halfway through). I’ll be starting Phase 2 of the Live Hard Program on Sunday, March 21st. I’m not looking forward to the daily 5-minute cold showers 🙁